Las Vegas planning Super Bowl supernova to cement status as sports hub

February 4, 2024 – 4:08 PM PST

The rising sun illuminates the Allegiant Stadium, where Super Bowl LVIII will take place, in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., January 24, 2024. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo
The rising sun illuminates the Allegiant Stadium, where Super Bowl LVIII will take place, in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., January 24, 2024. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) – Take Las Vegas and the NFL, add the world’s hottest pop star, a love story that has social media spinning like a slot machine, two superb teams and you get what might be a landmark Super Bowl cementing Sin City’s status as a global sports hub.


Already the United States’ biggest sporting party, Las Vegas is promising a Super Bowl supernova around the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers showdown on Feb. 11.

The reigning champion Chiefs, making a fourth Super Bowl appearance in five seasons, take on the 49ers, who with a win will bring home a sixth Lombardi trophy and join the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots for the most all-time titles.

The match-up is compelling but the sub plots are also rich and intriguing.

It takes a lot to overshadow a Super Bowl but the romance between Chiefs’ Travis Kelce and mega-pop star Taylor Swift is threatening to hijack the run up to the showcase, and perhaps even the game itself, with rumblings that the All-Pro tight end might get down on one knee after the Lombardi trophy is presented and pop the question.

One jeweller apparently is even prepared to hand over a $1 million engagement ring if he does.

You can bet on anything in Las Vegas, including whether Swift will make it back from her Saturday concert in Tokyo in time to watch her boyfriend play.

Japan’s embassy in the United States gave romantics around the world a lift by posting on X, formerly Twitter, on Saturday that Swift could indeed make the Super Bowl in time.

“Despite the 12-hour flight and 17-hour time difference, the embassy can confidently speak now to say that if she departs Tokyo in the evening after her concert she should comfortably arrive in Las Vegas before the Super Bowl,” said the embassy.

If Swift does make it to Las Vegas for kickoff she may not be able to land in her private jet, with parking spots at all local airports hanging out No Vacancy signs.


A coupling of Swift and the NFL, two of the most powerful forces in American popular culture, could deliver the biggest television event in the United States since Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon in 1969.

Last year’s game featuring the Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles holds the Super Bowl record for most viewers with 115 million.

With a rating of 49.1 (percentage of households watching) the 1982 Super Bowl between the 49ers and Cincinnati Bengals remains the highest rated and Neal Pilson, head of CBS sports at the time, is betting Sunday’s game will set new viewing records.

“I will go on record and say this game will exceed the viewership record,” Pilson, now head of Pilson Communications, told Reuters. “All the elements are there, the two best teams, real well known athletes on both sides, both teams have a history and you have the Taylor Swift inclusion as well.”

Swift and her army of followers, known as ‘Swifties’, are also expected to affect international viewing numbers with the game available in 190 countries.

Only a small fraction of the expected 350,000 visitors flooding into Las Vegas will get their hands on one of the 70,000 Super Bowl tickets, which are selling for between $7,000 and $50,000 on the resale market.

Everyone else is in Vegas to soak up the vibe and Sin City is making sure there are plenty of options.

“They have been coming here for years on Super Bowl weekend because of the opportunity to engage in betting but also the parties held all around the area,” said Nancy Lough, the director of intercollegiate and professional sport management programs at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

“The amount of events that are going on over the course of the week leading up to the Super Bowl is unlike anything we have ever seen.”


You only need a swim suit, not a ticket, for Circa Casino’s Big Game Bash where you can watch the Super Bowl on a 143-foot screen from the Swim Stadium pool.

There will be plenty of action up and down the Strip with celebrity parties from Gronk’s Beach Party to charity events like Taste of the NFL, where you can try celebrity chef Mark Bucher’s Travis and Taylor burger.

Once as toxic as the nearby Nevada nuclear test sites, Las Vegas was a no go zone for professional sports leagues over fears of having their products tainted by the stain of betting.

Not long ago the NFL wanted nothing to do with Las Vegas but now the league has its own branded slot machines.

“I recall a time when we would have done anything to sneak a sign into a Super Bowl television opportunity,” Clark County Commission Chairman James Gibson told Reuters.

“In fact I recall we thought we had figured out how to actually have Las Vegas appear on television during the broadcast until the NFL found it and wrote us a scathing letter.”

The National Hockey League was the first of the major North American sports to gamble on Vegas with the Golden Knights, who were founded in 2017, and it has been a huge success.

That was followed by the NFL’s Raiders three years later, with a new baseball stadium under construction that will be the home for a Major League Baseball team. The NBA and MLS are looking to plant their flags in the desert at some point.

“The betting situation so that other states can bet has taken one of the sins away, if you will, of Sin City,” explained Lough. “Now we sell ourselves as the Greatest Arena on Earth.

“We will get another Super Bowl again without question because no one throws a party like Vegas.”

Reporting by Steve Keating in Las Vegas; Editing by Ken Ferris

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